Director Gunson and Director Mueller call their subordinate deputy district attorneys and tell them to advise defense counsel in cases involving Dr. Ribe that there is information available which could potentially impeach Dr. Ribe.
Deputy District Attorney John Lynch, Head Deputy of the Norwalk Branch Office, provides to Phillip Mueller, Director of the Bureau of Branch and Area OperationsRegion II, information that Dr. Ribe had modified his expert opinions in more than one case and that information should be disclosed to defendants where Dr. Ribe is testifying as an expert witness.
A law suit brought against coroner Dr James K Ribe by another couple falsely accused of causing the death of their child goes to trial September 10th in Los Angeles Superior Court. The attached press release prepared by the familys attorney details how Ribes allegation that the parents starved their baby to death resulted in charges of negligent homicide. The couple lost their older child to foster care and spent several months in jail before Ribe, in the face of incontrovertible evidence the child had actually died of SIDS, recanted his original conclusions.
Prompted by a letter from a Los Angeles Times reader, the Medical Board of California opened an investigation into LA County Coroner Dr. James K. Ribe in December of 2006 with regard to his handling of the case of Eliza Jane Scovill. The link above includes correspondence between the LA Times reader (whose name and personal information have been redacted to protect her privacy) and the Medical Board of California. These documents prove that a simple action taken by one person has the power to make a difference in the world!
February 13 and 14, 1997: Dr. Ribe testifies at a preliminary hearing in People v. Arce and Urbano, a case involving the death of a three year old, that he changed his mind regarding cause of injury from a bedsore to a blow, after speaking with Dr. Lakshmanan.
May 11, 1996: Article in Los Angeles Times about People v. Jacobo, a shaken baby case, and mentioning Dr. Ribes testimony. July 24-28, 1997: Dr. Ribe testifies in People v. Jacobo and says he has changed his opinion regarding the time of infliction of injuries from that he had previously formed. He also admits that at the autopsy he told the police there were no skull fractures but at trial testified that skull fractures were present.
February 28, 1996: Article in Los Angeles Times about People v. Rathbun (death of an adult female) and Dr. Ribes equivocal testimony. October 3, 1996: Article appeared in Los Angeles Times about trial in People v. Rathbun and the fact that Dr. Ribe testified. October 24, 1996: Another article on People v. Rathbun reporting that Dr. Ribe changed his testimony. October 30, 1996: Another article on People v. Rathbun and Dr. Ribes change of testimony.
February 9, 1996: Dr. Ribe testifies in People v. Hand (a death involving multiple gunshot wounds). August 28, 1996: Dr. Ribe testifies in People v. Hand and changes from his preliminary hearing testimony regarding diagnosis of and time of infliction of wounds.
October 20, 1995: Dr. Ribe testifies at preliminary hearing in People v. Cauchi (involving the death of a child). November 25, 1996: During testimony in People v. Cauchi, Dr. Ribe admits that he missed certain injuries to the child, who had been tortured, and he now attributes death to shaken baby syndrome, a theory he developed several months after he carried out the autopsy in the case. December 10, 1996: Deputy District Attorney Wright, prosecutor in People v. Cauchi, says he is surprised about Dr. Ribes testimony in the case, testimony that Wright characterizes as evolving. At a bench conference, Dr. Ribe says that he had also changed his mind on another case that had not yet gone to trial. March 24, 1997: Deputy District Attorney Wright sends memo to Deputy District Attorney Bill Hodgman, director of the special operations bureau, regarding his concern relating to the credibility of Dr. Ribe arising from Dr. Ribes change of mind in the Cauchi case.
June 28, 1995: Dr. Ribe testifies at pretrial of People v. Wingfield regarding the death of Lance Helms, son of defendants boyfriend. He testifies that death would have occurred within 30-60 minutes from the injuries inflicted. Based on advice of counsel relating to the testimony of Dr. Ribe, Wingfield pleads nolo contendere. January 19, 1996: Dr. Ribe testifies before a State Senate Subcommittee about the Lance Helms death. He testifies that death occurred between 30 minutes and two hours from infliction of the injuries. He also acknowledges missing certain evidence about broken ribs. July 16, 1996: Los Angeles Police Department Internal Affairs reopens the case involving Lance Helms death. November 15, 1996: Lance Helms reinvestigation report issued which notes significant changes in opinions by Dr. Ribe regarding timing of the infliction of wounds which places the blame on the father and appears to exonerate Eve, the fathers girlfriend. The investigating officer presents the case to Deputy District Attorney Yochelson and requests a criminal filing and felony warrant charging the father with murder. November 21, 1996: Meeting between Roger Gunson, Director of the Bureau of Branch and Area OperationsRegion I, of the Los Angeles County District Attorneys Office, Alan Yochelson, Detective Lopez, Lt. King, Dr. Lakshmanan and Dr. Ribe, relating to the Lance Helms death. September 11, 1997: Los Angeles Times article about Lance Helms death, stating that Dr. Ribe had changed his conclusion and now believed that the fatal injuries were instantly incapacitating. September 13, 1997: Los Angeles Times article about Eve Wingfield being freed from state prison in the Lance Helms murder case.